@UMassMed, the magazine of the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Fall 2019 edition

Page 22


Lisa Colombo Executive Vice Chancellor of Commonwealth Medicine

“Wherever I go, I encounter Commonwealth Medicine staff who are engaging every day with people who depend on us for services...they handle it with such grace and compassion...It inspires me to make sure I perform my role with that same commitment.” Lisa Colombo


20 | 2019

hen Lisa Colombo, DNP, MHA, RN, joined Commonwealth Medicine last fall as executive vice chancellor, she knew there would be a lot to learn. She was delighted to discover that there was also a lot to like. Colombo, who holds degrees in nursing from the MGH Institute of Health Professions and Worcester State University and in health administration from Clark University, came to Commonwealth Medicine from her role as senior vice president and chief nursing officer at UMass Memorial Medical Center. For the past decade, she also has held a faculty appointment at the rank of assistant professor in the Graduate School of Nursing. What she’s found at Commonwealth Medicine are “talented, experienced people with a real passion for the mission of helping those helped by public programs,” she said. “This attitude creates tremendous energy in the organization that is really nice to be around.” Colombo’s experience in health services delivery at a number of academic medical centers, including Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Lahey Health, and two years as president and CEO of UMass Memorial-Clinton Hospital, required many of the same skills she is depending on to lead Commonwealth Medicine. “What sometimes seems the most relevant experience for me, interestingly, was when I was president at Clinton Hospital. When you move from being the operational person to being the CEO, you have to have a different perspective. You have a team that is focusing on the operations, so you have to help set the vision and the strategy and find ways to support

the values that are unquestionably such a big part of Commonwealth Medicine, which has a strong culture of respect and accountability. So for me, this is a chance to take what I’ve learned in number of different roles and apply them in a different way.” Commonwealth Medicine’s business reach is broad: about two-thirds of its work is within Massachusetts—much of it in concert with state agencies, especially MassHealth— but the other third of the work that Commonwealth Medicine performs is in 27 states. While growth is always on the agenda, it is not the first priority. “It’s becoming clear that we need to balance the business we do a bit more: working for out-of-state clients and agencies helps us diversify our portfolio, but our first commitment will always be to our partnership with the commonwealth,” she said. This is one of the reasons that Commonwealth Medicine has embarked on a reorganization and a strategic planning process, the latter in concert with the medical school’s own ambitious 2025 strategic plan, which will be announced in the fall of 2019. The reorganization of Commonwealth Medicine aligns programs into four broad areas. Clinical delivery solutions includes some of the most broadly known programs, such as New England Newborn Screening, Disability Evaluation Services, Health and Criminal Justice, Community Case Management and the Office of Clinical Affairs for MassHealth. Health care finance solutions works with public payers and includes programs such as Medicare eligibility enhancement, state and federal claiming, and third-party liability programs